Seb Bouin is the first to repeat the Ondra route Iron Curtain (9b)

The Frenchman Seb Bouin manages the redpoint ascent of the Iron Curtain route in Flatanger, first climbed by Adam Ondra in 2013. Seb Bouin reports.

A report by Seb Bouin

In 2013 I have Adam Ondra emailed him and asked if he was following this summer Flatanger will go. I was looking for a climbing partner. I didn't expect an answer, we didn't know each other yet.

The next day I had an answer and a suggested date for me to be picked up from Trondheim airport. I booked my tickets and accompanied Adam and Erick Grandelius for a whole month in this beautiful area.

«It was so exciting, a new beautiful place, a new area and the strongest climber in the world showing you the pearls of the area.»

Seb Bouin about his time in Flatanger with Adam Ondra

As soon as we arrived, Adam Ondra threw himself into his project called Iron curtain. The line looked incredibly difficult and beautiful. It was the first route he scored during the trip and I had the opportunity to belay him on the first ascent. And that was really impressive. He did a crazy Gaston move in the crux - crazy.

Seb Bouin inspecting Move (9b/+) in Flatanger. (Image: Raphael Fourau)
Seb Bouin inspecting Move (9b/+) in Flatanger. (Image: Raphael Fourau)

Turning point in climbing career

Spending that time with the two boys was very inspiring. It was a turning point in my climbing career. You opened my eyes to climbing at the highest level.
I learned so much from seeing how they move while climbing. It was just different. Thanks guys for these memories.

«I learned so much from seeing how they move while climbing. It was just different. Thanks guys for these memories."

Seb Bouin

This year I decided to return to Flatanger with no fixed goals.
I want to keep an open mind and see what inspires me. So I started the Iron Curtain route. The rock is so perfect and the line is so cool. For the ascent I needed 14 attempts spread over 5 climbing days.

During the ascent of Iron Curtain I have kneepads used and I think the route is easier with kneepads. The crux can be climbed differently. While still fairly difficult, it's less taxing on the shoulders - more like a classic bouldering problem.

In 2019, Seb Bouin boarded the 9c Route Silence to check out the trains. (Picture Henning Wang)
In 2019, Seb Bouin boarded the 9c Route Silence to check out the trains. (Picture Henning Wang)

Adam Ondra suggested 9b as a rating for Iron Curtain, climbing the route without kneepads. If the route is climbed without kneepads, then I'm pretty sure 9b is the appropriate difficulty. Considering the time and number of attempts I needed for the redpoint ascent with kneepads, the grade is closer to the 9a+ line. One thing is clear: the line is exceptional.

Next I will look for more demanding challenges here in Flatanger. I don't know yet whether I'm ready for a really big project that I have to stick with for the long term. the Route DNA got me pretty busy. I probably need a little more time for «the next big one». Let's see where my heart takes me.


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